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may get to considerable excellency; but the christian
to reach the souls of a different make and turn, even the lowest of the vulgar, is what very few quickly arrive at; but let us not despair ; if we thus regard the Lord Jesus in our ministrations, we may very reasonably expect the assistance of his Spirit, and we shall be “ able to do all things through Christ Arengthening us.”
CHRISTIAN PREACHER, &c.
OF PARTICULAR AND EXPERIMENTAL
§ 1. Introduction. The complaint of preachers dwelling in generals, too well founded. 2.
Ñ 2. (I.) WHEREIN
the happy skill of DIVIDING THE WORD ARIGHT. 1. In going through the variety of gospel subjects. $ 3. Some err by neglecting to enforce holiness and christian duties. \ 4. Others err by neglecting the doctrines of grace. ☺ 5. 2. In putting a thought in several distinct views for different purposes. .8 6. An apoftolic instance of it on the doctrine of justification. Ø 7. Commonly such distin&t views are united in the same paragraph ; as ele&tion and sanctification, grace and works. ☺ 8. Another instance, where the scripture speaks of power and duty. Ø 9. Unskilful preachers deal entirely in. one of these, and neglect the other. 9 10. 3. In distinctly explaining and enforcing particular
duties, and opposing particular fins. 11. This illustrated. Ø 12. 4. In particularly applying to the several cases of the hearers. | 13. This instanced in the prophets and apostles. As to men's knowledge and obedience. \ 14. They reprove and confute. § 15. Denounce woe to them at ease. $ 16. Lead convinced sinners to Christ. § 17. They reason with the moralift. 18. Rebuke and expose hypocrites. 19. Encourage the weak, and stimulate the flothful. s 20. Deal tenderly, yet faithfully, with several sorts of distempered christians. § 21. Alarm the declining.
22. Awfully warn the falling. § 23. Comfort the perfecuted and affli&ted. $ 24. We have particular lessons for frong christians. 25! And a suitable portion for those who groan under corruption. N 26. The humble and penitent are comforted. $ 27. Those who want direction are counselled. | 28. The deceiver and the deceived are distinêtly treated. 829. And those under desertion, though the instances in primitive times are few, have proper hints given them, \ 30. The Puritan writers recommended. \ 31. The necessty of applying to particular cases further urged and illustrated. 32. (II.) How this valuable skill may
be ATTAINED. 1. Study your own hearts, and preach over the ruder
sketches of your sermons
to yourselves. 33. 2. Converse freely with ferious people. § 34. To this the politer part may be backward; but, $ 35. The difficulty may be in a measure obviated. 36. 3. Have an eye upon serious youth. § 37. 4. Cultivate spiritual intimacy with more advanced christians. 38. 5. Distribute, in your thoughts, your people into classes. § 39. 6. Study the most popular and experimental authors with this view. $ 40. Conclufon.
ý 1. Rightly to divide the word of truth is the necessary care of a minister, if he would be “approved of God, and be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed."* And it is a skill worth studying for, and labouring to attain: our success, and the good of souls, depend upon it more than is commonly imagined.
No doubt you may have heard many honest people express their dissatisfaction with some preachers, in such terms as these :- · They go on constantly in a general way, that does not come close to the heart, reaches not my case and experience, and I am not edified by them.' Their complaint is not altogether without meaning or
reason, 2 Tim, ii, 15
reason, as I hope you will be convinced by and by.
§ 2. (I.) To keep a little in view that passage of scripture I have mentioned, DIVIDING THE WORD may mean these four things :- 1. Going through the variety of gospel subjects : declaring the whole counsel of God, the doctrines of grace, threatenings, promises, and the duties of morality; and giving each its due proportion.
Ø 3. Some, finding their thoughts flow most readily and affectionately on the doctrines of grace, and that by these they best command the affections of the hearers, are altogether upon them; and neglect to teach the people to observe what Christ has commanded them. I bear many of them witness they have a zeal for God, but I wish it were more according to knowledge. They do not sufficiently consider, that holiness is the very design of christianity; and our preaching on other heads is in order the better to enforce duty, and render men like to Christ.
I am afraid, from what I have observed, that this strain of preaching will increase the number of those hearers, whom our Saviour defcribes by the “ ftony ground,” in the parable of the fower; namely, such who, though full of notions and transient affections, and forward in professing, yet